How PR and marketing pros can handle negative feedback

Criticism, even when constructive, can be a hard pill to swallow. Here’s how you can make the most of it—and to know which comments to ignore.

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What separates your average internet troll from someone who wants to offer genuine, constructive criticism?

That’s a tough one to answer, even for the most-seasoned digital marketer or PR pro.

Many of us, at some point, have had what I call “internet confidence”: it’s where you feel empowered to go after someone, perhaps even spouting off, because you knew the internet’s veil of anonymity protected you.

If you’ve done that, you probably also know that it often turns out badly. No one wins when people get into a snark war on online.

As a news reporter, I thought it would be a great idea for me to engage with readers who had comments about the stories I was reporting on—but it was a terrible decision. No matter how measured or rational I thought my responses were, they were often met with biting vitriol. I learned my lesson.

However, not all of us are so fortunate to be able to ignore internet commenters. Brand managers have a responsibility to know what’s being said about their clients and organizations. Take courage: Though sifting through the vitriol to find constructive criticism can be hard, it can be done.

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